Smart thermostats give you the ability to control the temperature of your home through an app. Home or away, you will always be able to check in on how cool or warm your home is. With half of your homes energy bill going towards the heating and cooling, being able to control (or better yet let your smart thermostat control) the heating and cooling habits of your home becomes a great way to save some money each month.

When it comes to saving money, I am all in! Even better if my smart thermostat can handle all of the heavy lifting for me.

There are many thermostats out there that have been billed as smart. We are gonna talk about the two major contenders in the field: Nest and Ecobee.

Both of these products have great functionality, look great and would be an excellent addition to any smart home. 

One minor difference is in the sensors the thermostats uses. The Ecobee4 edges out the Best by having built in proximity detectors that help the thermostat know if you re home or away. The Nest sensors rely on the location of your phone or geofencing. Its a very small difference but something to consider.

What to look for in a smart thermostat

These things might seem simple but there are a few different things you will want to keep in mind when you are purchasing one or multiple smart plugs. Here are a few things you will want to consider when shopping for that new smart thermostat: 

  • Ease of installation. Most of us are not professional electricians so before deciding to upgrade your thermostat, make sure you can re-install the new one. If you are not comfortable with that, get an electrician! 
  • Motion Activation. How else will it sense when you are home or away. If you are looking at the Nest or Ecobee4, these both have the motion sensors to learn your schedule. 
  • Geofencing. This also helps with creating schedules and boosts the potential savings from your new smart thermostat.
  • Smart home compatibility. You always want to makes sure the new tech you are bringing home fits into your current smart home ecosystem. 
  • Sensors. These help the thermostat control those rooms that tend to run or hot cold. But these sensors may be an added expense.
  • Aesthetics. Its gotta look cool too, right?

Our Favorite smart thermostats

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat. The race to the top for smart thermostats is a close one but we believe the Ecobee4 very narrowly beats out the Nest Learning Thermostat. When it comes to automating temperatures in your home, both work great! But Ecobee4 is compatible with Apple Homekit and has a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker.

This thermostat also comes with a remote sensor that helps track when you may be home or away and also helps manage the temperature in those rooms in your house that run hot or cold. It is also equipped with geofencing and motion detection sensors.

The Ecobee4 does require a C-wire. If your home does not have that available, it also comes with a Power Extender Kit (PEK) that enables the thermostat to run without the C wire without drawing power from the HVAC system.

 

Pros

  • Compatible with Alexa, Google, Homekit and more
  • Built in Alexa 
  • Includes a room sensor at no extra cost
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • It is still a bit pricey
  • Not the best audio quality with the built in Alexa (the speaker is so small)

If the built-in Alexa seems a bit much, you can also take a look at the Ecobee3 or the Ecobee3 Lite. These will cost a bit less with a lot of the same great functionality as the Ecobee4!

Nest Learning Thermostat. Nest will learn your home heating and cooling patterns and automate those for you. It relies on sensors and geofencing to know when you are home or away and adjusts the climate of your home accordingly. It comes with a vibrant, sleek screen and awesome slim design.

Nest comes in as a very, very close second to the Ecobee4 but wins the design and aesthetics challenge hands down. The Nest just looks great on the wall.

It also has the option of adding temperature sensors, but these are an add cost. They are great for gauging the temperature in those rooms that might run hot or cold in your house and keeping them in line with the rest of the house. The Nest also comes with geofencing capabilities and motion detection sensors.

These are one of the more expensive options on the market, but well worth the cost. This thermostat will most definitely lower your homes heating bill, it is easy to install (even comes with the tools needed) and has an awesome, functional app.

Nest does not require a C-wire, but its best to use it if you have it as the device will draw its power from the system itself.

Pros

  • Compatible with Alexa and Google 
  • Awesome design 
  • Very easy install
  • The Nest ecosystem is only growing

Cons

  • No Apple Homekit compatibility
  • Limited control over customization
  • The added sensors are an additional cost 

Nest also offers another smart thermostat called the Nest Thermostat E. A lot of the same great features but less on the design and materials used to construct it. This is still a great smart thermostat for anyone who might be on a budget.